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Cocaine dealer dad was caught by garda stings

A FATHER-of-two with no previous drugs involvement agreed to become a crack cocaine dealer so he could provide for his children, a court heard.

Charlie Murphy (39) was caught selling the drug to undercover gardai in his neighbourhood four times before he was arrested and charged.

The accused was a tradesman whose work had suffered in the economic downturn and had agreed to sell crack because he was "desperate" for money.

Murphy, of Joseph Plunkett Tower, Ballymun, pleaded guilty to four counts of possession of drugs with intent to sell or supply. The offences happened at Shangan Road on July 11, Shangan Avenue on July 12, Santry Avenue on the same date, and Gulliver's Retail Park on July 23.

A garda sergeant told Dublin District Court that the accused sold crack cocaine to an undercover garda on all four occasions, and the value of each transaction was €45.

The accused was later arrested at his home. He had no previous convictions.

Murphy was a plasterer by trade, had a very good work record and had always been in a position to provide for his family, his solicitor Tony Collier told the court. However, his job had suffered from the downturn in the building trade and he was now only in part-time employment "wherever work presents itself".

Mr Collier explained that Murphy had been "approached by an individual and told he could earn some money.

"This arrangement was put to him, he understands it was wrong. He has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity. He appreciates the seriousness of the offences."

The accused had been "quite desperate for money" at the time and had agreed with the arrangement.

He was separated, and his children were used to a "certain standard of living that he was able to provide" when he was working full time.

He hoped that the work situation would improve.

Murphy did not use drugs himself and has had no more involvement in the trade.

Judge Anne Ryan adjourned the case to July 22 for a probation report to be prepared.

Judge Ryan said she would consider community service or restorative justice as options, but was "not making any definite order" yet.